Advanced Graduate Course 2018- Course Description

GBSC 724 – Spring Graduate course on the Science of metabolomics


Spring Semester 2018 (January 8 – March 30)

The living cell, whether normal or pathologic, is a dynamic environment characterized by expression of its genes and translation of the proteins that provide structure and organization, signaling, being gatekeepers, and synthesis of proteins, lipids and DNA/DNA. All this cannot occur without a constant supply of all the necessary small molecule components (sugars, amino acid lipids, hormones) that provide the essential building blocks and the energy (ATP) needed for this activity. As has occurred for DNA sequencing, RNA-seq and the analytical technologies for analyzing and understanding the “metabolome” have rapidly advanced, allowing for a big picture look of how a cell (or any other model) is working.

The NIH, through the Common Fund, has made a $50 million investment in Metabolomics, the fruits of which can be reviewed at

Metabolomics has revealed the importance of metabolites in major chronic diseases:

  • Branched chain amino acids in diabetes
  • The microbiome production of trimethylamine N-oxide (from lecithin) and the risk of cardiovascular disease,
  • The two isomers of the oncometabolite, 2-hydroxyglutarate, in cancer

This graduate course will equip investigators, new and experienced, with the tools to design metabolomics-based experiments, appreciate what the metabolome is (it’s much bigger than you think), and know how to recover the metabolome and have it analyzed. Training will also be given in the software tools needed to view, statistically analyze and interpret the collected raw data. During the course, participants will review publications on the applications of metabolomics.

The latter part of the course will concentrate on the newer aspects of metabolomics:

  • in situ imaging of metabolites in tissue sections
  • Detailed lipidomics analysis
  • Use of stable isotopically labeled precursors to identify novel metabolites
  • Metabolite flux
  • The influence of the gut microbiome
  • Metabolomics in the operating theater
  • Integration of metabolomics with the transcriptome

The course starts on Monday, January 8th 2018 and meets for 90 min three times a week (M/W/F) in Shelby 1015 from 9-10:30 am. The details of the course can be viewed at Schedule page.